Voice for the Voiceless: Refugees

14 May

A refugee is a person who flees his or her home to escape invasion, oppression, or persecution. They genuinely risk serious human rights abuses.

There are 42 million people around the world that have been uprooted by war.

26 million of those people are internally displaced persons (IDPs), or people that are forced to flee their homes, but unlike refugees stay within their own country’s borders.

16 million of those people have actually had to move to a foreign country.

75-80% of the world’s refugees are women and children.

These women and children are vulnerable to violence and exploitation by military and immigration personnel, bandit groups, male refugees, and rival ethnic groups.

Refugees often must walk for days, holding their children or siblings and what few possessions they managed to escape with. Many of their family members were killed or abducted in the violence. Fresh, painful memories flash through their minds as they search for shelter, water, food, and medical care.

Most refugees have to settle for taking shelter in a railway car, a bombed-out building, or an abandoned schoolhouse. Worse, they may end up having to build a makeshift shelter out of whatever materials they can find – sticks, plastic, or even mud.

Many internally displaced people are moved over and over again, often forced to flee at a moment’s notice, making it hard to find family and friends before running again to find safety.

Violence, rape, shootings, and bombings are a regular part of life as a refugee. Most often, these helpless people cannot even turn to their government for support since they are the perpetrators of the violence. In Iraq and Sri Lanka, for example, victims are often killed or seriously injured in blasts from bombs intentionally planted in crowded  areas. Unexploded land mines are a major threat to refugees living in countries like Colombia, Chad, and Afghanistan.

Refugee camps are also often overrun with theft. What food a refugee managed to grab before fleeing their hometown is often stolen, leaving them with no means to feed their family.

Malnutrition, malaria, measles, severe chest infection, and other illnesses plague refugees, and with such limited medical care, it is likely that they will die before being treated.

Ready-to-use food, a special paste for malnourished children under five, can easily prevent and treat this life-threatening condition, but the chances of receiving it are slim. Only 5% of the worlds 20 million children suffering from severe malnutrition receive this ready-to-use food.

Other problems for refugees include: lack of bathroom facilities, dysentery, cholera, lack of clean water, depression, insomnia, panic attacks, HIV, malaria, measles, polio, tetanus, diptheria, and hopelessness.

What can we do? This issue is overwhelming and far too big for us, but there has never been nor will there ever be an issue too big for God.

Pray. Pray the God would comfort displaced people, heal their memories, and give them a new home. Pray that God would protect the women and children from further violence. Pray against government corruption.

Pray against Satan and his stronghold of evil on this earth. Rebuke his lies, hatred, confusion, deceit, and violence in the name of Jesus.

Pray against longstanding warfare. Pray for peace.

Pray against judgement, racism, and segregation.

Pray for the health of the people, that parasites would flee and that their water would be clean. Pray that God would raise up healthcare workers to head overseas and treat these people.

Pray that an overwhelming sense of calm and serenity would fall upon the refugee camps. Pray that the Lord who loves these people, just as He loves you, would surround them with His never-ending love.

Pray that God would open the eyes of His church, and set people’s hearts ablaze for these injustices. Pray against ignorance, conscious or unconscious, that people would seek to inform themselves about the world around them. Pray that churches would reach out and open their homes and hearts to immigrants and refugees.

Pray for action, but don’t stop there. Take action.

Check out these sites to find out ways to get involved:

http://doctorswithoutborders.org

http://www.unrefugees.org

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